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»UNICEF seeks $8.2 million to meet the critical needs of children and women affected by the cyclone in Myanmar«

Geneva, 08 May 2008

UNICEF has requested an initial $8.2 million for its emergency operation to assist the survivors of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.   

Children and women require urgent assistance to survive in increasingly desperate conditions. Initial stocks prepositioned in the country are being distributed, but they will not be sufficient to meet critical needs that include clean drinking water, shelter materials, water purification tablets, cooking sets, mosquito nets, food, essential drugs, and appropriate sanitation facilities.

The destruction has led to an estimated one million homeless people across five states of Myanmar. Many schools and health centres have collapsed or have been severely damaged. Electricity has been cut, and access to potable water and medical care are major concerns. The conditions pose serious risks for outbreaks of infections and water-borne diseases. The displaced are living in congested shelters or out in the open and lack drinking water, food and latrines.

Launching the appeal, Ms. Pierrette Vu Thi, Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Programmes, said, “Children are the most vulnerable in coping with the effects of such a disaster. They are likely to be severely affected and in need of immediate assistance.”  

UNICEF has been responding by distributing pre-positioned emergency supplies: family health kits with medicine for 155,000 people, water purification tablets, oral rehydration salts, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, family kits (containing cooking and cleaning implements and jerry cans), and bleaching drums. Additional staff and supplies are on the way.

UNICEF is working with partners and the government to procure and distribute additional essential drugs and other relief supplies. It is also working to restore water and sanitation services; provide temporary learning spaces, as many schools have been completely destroyed; establish safe spaces for thousands of children in need of protection and treatment, and assist in the identification and reunification of separated children with their families.

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